The Master’s of Divinity, or MDiv, is the most common academic degree awarded by divinity schools and seminaries in the United States. In a considerable number of Christian denominations in the U.S., the Master’s of Divinity is a basic requirement for a person to be ordained to the ministry or priesthood. A person interested in pursuing this course of advanced study likely has a number of questions. Included on that list is the query about whether a Master’s of Divinity includes counseling courses.
Related resource: 25 Best Master’s in Pastoral Counseling Online Degree Programs
Basic Requirements for a Master’s of Divinity Degree
Academic accrediting agencies mandate that in order to obtain a Master’s of Divinity degree a person must undertake 72 credit hours of study. There are some schools that offer Master’s of Divinity degrees that require more credit hours of study for graduation. These schools require upwards to 104 credit hours.
When it comes to a requirement for students seeking a Master’s of Divinity degree, accrediting agencies in the United States do not impose such a mandate on schools. With that said, there are some schools do require at least one counseling course as part of its basic curriculum. There are schools that take this a step further and do require more than one counseling course as part of the 72 credit hours required for graduation.
Counseling Courses at Schools with Higher Credit Hour Requirements for Graduation
As mentioned a moment ago, there are schools that have a higher credit hour requirement for students to graduate. At most of these institutions, there is a broader offering of counseling courses. Students are either strongly encouraged to take more than one counseling course as electives or there is a requirement to take specific classes in this area during their course of study.
Joint Degree Programs: Master’s of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling
There are institutions of higher learning that offer dual degree programs, formally linking Master’s of Divinity degree programs with other courses of study. One of the more common joint degree programs is one combining Master’s of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling. Enrollment in these dual degree or joint degree programs continues to increase each academic year, a trend that is expected to continue into the future.
Joint Degree and Enhanced Employment Prospects
In addition to being able to advance in a pastoral setting, a joint Master’s of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling degree opens up other doors to employment opportunities. When a person is armed with an individual and not a joint degree in these disciplines, the job market is tough, according to Forbes magazine. High on this list are opportunities in Christian counseling.
Christian counseling is a mental healthcare niche that has been expanding fairly significantly over the course of the past three decades. A notable segment of the membership of a number of Christian churches do turn to Christian counselors when they are in need of therapeutic and related assistance.
A Master’s of Divinity degree does open up doors in a competitive profession. While there are a limited number of positions in the clergy and with religious organizations, a Master’s of Divinity degree is particularly effective at giving a person a significant edge in the challenging world of pastoral and ministerial employment.